‘Disgraced’ (Amir): “That was the first girl I ever kissed”

‘Disgraced’ by Ayad Akhtar

From: Play

Type: Dramatic

Character: Amir Kapoor, a lawyer, South Asain

Gender: Male

Age Range: 40's

Summary: Amir Kapoor is living the American Dream—an upper East Side apartment, Italian suits, and the promise of becoming partner at the law firm. But when he and his wife Emily, an artist influenced by Islamic imagery, host a dinner party for their friends and colleagues, lies and deception threaten to shatter Amir’s carefully constructed life of cultural assimilation.

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AMIR: That was the first girl I ever kissed. Rivkah was the first girl I ever got up in the morning thinking about. One time she went away on vacation in the middle of the school year. She was gone a week, and I was a mess. Didn’t even want to go to school if I couldn’t see her. (Remembering) She was a looker. Dark hair, dark eyes. Dimples. Perfect white skin.

So Rivkah and I’d gotten to the point where we were trading notes. And one day, my mother found one of the notes. Of course it was signed, Rivkah. Rivkah? my mom says. That’s a Jewish name. (Beat) I wasn’t clear on what exactly a Jew was at the time, other than they’d stolen land from the Palestinians, and something about how God hated them more than other people… I couldn’t imagine God could have hated this little girl. So I tell my mom: “No, she’s not Jewish.” But she knew the name was Jewish. If I ever hear that name in this house again, Amir, she said, I’ll break your bones. You will end up with a Jew over my dead body. Then she spat in my face.

That’s so you don’t ever forget, she says. Next day? Rivkah comes up to me in the hall with a note. “Hi, Amir,” she says. Eyes sparkling. I look at her and say: “You’ve got the name of a Jew.” She smiles. “Yes, I’m Jewish,” she says. (Beat) Then I spit in her face.

*culled

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